As conscious fashion shoppers ourselves, we at FLUF understand the thrill and the importance of secondhand shopping online. It’s a treasure hunt for unique pieces and a vital step towards reducing the fashion industry’s environmental impact. However, finding the right fit can be quite the task, especially when dealing with clothes from different eras or brands. If you’ve been wondering, “How do I find the right fit when shopping secondhand online?”, you’re in the right place.

Understanding the Evolution of Sizing in Fashion

One inherent challenge with buying secondhand clothes online is the evolution of sizing standards in the fashion industry. Back in 1958, when garment size standardisations were introduced, they established an evolving state of sizing confusion. Over the decades, ‘vanity sizing’ came into play, allowing brands to shift standards based on the notion that consumers preferred smaller size numbers, causing inconsistency with sizing over the decades.

Courtesy of oneoffvintage

Ralph Lauren’s men’s clothing is a prime example of this. A medium-sized item from the 90s might fit like a large or even an extra-large by today’s standards. This discrepancy makes it difficult to rely on the tag alone for sizing information. On top of this, the fashion industry often falls short in providing inclusive sizing, with fewer options available for larger sizes. When you combine this issue with the unique nature of secondhand clothing (only one of each item available), finding the right fit can indeed be intimidating. But fret not, the team at FLUF has collated some tried and tested tips to guide you on your online secondhand shopping journey.

Top Tips to Overcome Sizing Challenges in Secondhand Online Shopping

Despite these challenges, there are effective strategies to increase your success in finding well-fitting secondhand clothing online.

1. Master the Art of Measuring Yourself:

The first step on this journey is knowing your measurements like the back of your hand. Here’s your quick guide:

  • Chest/Bust: Imagine you’re giving yourself a gentle hug. Wrap the tape measure around the fullest part of your chest, underneath your arms, and around your shoulder blades. That’s your chest or bust measurement.
  • Waist: Your natural waist is where you bend and twist. Wrap the tape measure around this natural bend, breathing normally. This is your waist measurement.
  • Hip: Your hips are the fullest part of your lower body. Measure around the widest part to capture your hip measurement.
  • Inseam: For the perfect trouser or jeans length, the inseam is key. Measure from the crotch seam down to where you’d like your pants to end.

Got those down? Great! If you’re a woman, here are a couple more:

  • Shoulders: Think of the line a backpack strap makes. Measure from one corner of your shoulder to the other for your shoulder width.
  • Dress length: If you’re eyeing a dress, knowing your ideal length is crucial. Measure from the hollow at the base of your neck to where you’d like the hem to hit.

For men, here are a couple of extras:

  • Neck: Like measuring for a tailor-made shirt, measure around the base of your neck, where the collar would sit. This is especially useful when shopping for shirts and jackets.
  • Sleeve: From the shoulder seam, measure down your arm to your desired sleeve length. This helps ensure the sleeve isn’t too short or too long.

Armed with these measurements, you’re well equipped to compare them with the listed measurements of the item. Even if the tag size doesn’t align with your usual size, the garment may still be the perfect fit for you.

2. Leverage the Human Touch: Request More Details from the Seller:

When you’re navigating the world of secondhand shopping online, remember this: You’re not just interacting with a webpage, but a community of dedicated sellers who value their customers’ satisfaction. So, if you’re eyeing that vintage jacket or stunning dress but are uncertain about its fit, don’t hesitate to tap into this invaluable resource.

Feel free to reach out to the seller for more detailed information or specific measurements. It’s often the case that you’re conversing directly with the store owner – an enthusiast who knows their stock inside out and is eager to help you find that perfect fit. They can provide additional detail, a closer look, or even insights on how the item fits compared to modern sizes.

Taking this step not only empowers you with more information but also strengthens the sense of community in the secondhand shopping scene. Remember, you’re supporting small businesses who thrive on their ability to provide personalised service and ensure happy customers. They are allies in your quest to overcome the challenge of sizing in secondhand online shopping.

3. Make Use of Size Charts:

When sellers list the original brand of the item, this information becomes your secret weapon. Search for the brand’s size chart online. It will help you understand how their sizes correspond to your measurements. Size charts from the brand’s official website are usually more accurate than general ones.

4. Be Flexible with Brands and Sizes:

Don’t limit your search to certain brands or sizes. Fashion sizing is not standardised, and a size 8 in one brand may be a size 10 in another. Embrace this variability and explore items labeled a size up or down from your usual. You might be surprised by the fit!

5. Seek Professional Alterations:

Don’t dismiss items that are slightly off in size. If you love an item, but it doesn’t fit just right, consider having it professionally altered. It’s an additional cost, but the result can be a custom-fitted piece that’s exactly your style.

6. Look for Adjustable and Easy-to-Restyle Clothes:

Not all secondhand clothes need to fit perfectly off the rack. Look for pieces that can be easily adjusted or restyled. Items with adjustable waistbands, straps, or laces offer more leeway in fit. An oversized shirt can be cinched with a belt or tucked into high-waisted pants for a fashionable look.

7. Make Informed Decisions on Return Policies:

Before buying, understand the seller’s return policy. Many secondhand sellers don’t accept returns, while others do under specific conditions. Knowing your options will help you make more informed decisions and reduce the risk of being stuck with an ill-fitting item.

In the end, navigating the world of online secondhand shopping doesn’t have to be intimidating, and you don’t have to compromise on finding clothing that fits you well. With these tips in hand, you can make more informed choices and find the right fit, even when shopping for diverse brands like Ralph Lauren, where the sizes have noticeably shifted over the decades.

Remember, it’s more than just knowing your measurements. It’s about understanding how sizes can vary between brands and over time, being proactive in seeking additional information, and embracing the possibility of alterations to ensure your secondhand finds fit you perfectly.

By adopting a mindful approach to secondhand shopping, you can contribute to a more sustainable future for fashion, and support small businesses in the process. So, head out into the world of online secondhand fashion with confidence. You might be surprised at the unique and fitting pieces you discover!

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